Egypt PM calls for agreement on Ethiopian dam

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. (AFP/File)
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Updated 19 October 2020

Egypt PM calls for agreement on Ethiopian dam

  • Madbouly stressed that the water axis is one of the most important pillars of Egyptian national security

CAIRO: Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly stressed the necessity of reaching a binding legal agreement on the rules for filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in a manner that preserves common interests, noting Egypt’s keenness to continue negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia.

During the opening of Cairo Water Week 2020, the prime minister spoke of the importance of not taking any unilateral decisions that would negatively affect stability in the region.

Madbouly stressed that the water axis is one of the most important pillars of Egyptian national security. Comprehensive sustainable development plans in all fields are linked to the state's ability to provide the water resources for these plans.

He said that the state is striving to preserve water resources, maximizing the benefit from them and adopting an ambitious program to double the quantities of desalinated water used in the drinking water sector with investments amounting to EGP 135 billion ($8.6 billion) up to 2030.

He also referred to the establishment of the Al Mahsama Water Reclamation Plant in Ismailia saying that it is the best work of the year.

“Now, there are many upstream countries trying to extend their hegemony over the water basins of many rivers in the Arab world. This is in order to control water flows and harm the riparian downstream countries and form a political geography of river basins through the national interests of upstream countries that are not dependent on the downstream countries," Madbouly said.

The Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel-Aty, said that Ethiopia is still taking a firm stance regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

He added that Ethiopia’s intransigence in the negotiations will represent a major challenge due to the lack of agreement on the rules for filling and operating the dam, despite the support provided by Egypt for the concerns of the Ethiopian side.

Abdel-Aty said that Egypt sought, through the agreement of principles signed in Sudan in 2015, to reach a fair and balanced agreement that takes into account the interests of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, but Ethiopia had prevented that.

The dispute escalated, especially between Egypt and Ethiopia, months ago, with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announcing the start of filling the dam reservoir before the agreed date.


Iran says British-Australian academic freed for 3 Iranians

Updated 20 min 15 sec ago

Iran says British-Australian academic freed for 3 Iranians

  • It was not immediately clear when Moore-Gilbert would arrive back in Australia
  • Moore-Gilbert has gone on hunger strikes and pleaded for the Australian government to do more to free her

TEHRAN: Iran has freed Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a British-Australian academic who has been detained in Iran for more than two years, in exchange for three Iranians held abroad, state TV reported Wednesday.
The state TV report offered no further details Wednesday beyond saying that the three Iranians released in the swap had been detained for trying to bypass sanctions.
Moore-Gilbert was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was sent to Tehran’s Evin Prison in September 2018 and sentenced to 10 years. She is one of several Westerners held in Iran on internationally criticized espionage charges that their families and rights groups say are unfounded.
It was not immediately clear when Moore-Gilbert would arrive back in Australia. State TV aired video showing her with a gray hijab sitting at what appeared to be a greeting room at one of Tehran’s airports. She wore a blue face mask under her chin. The footage showed three men with Iranian flags over their shoulders — those freed in exchange for her being released. State TV earlier described them as “economic activists,” without elaborating.
International pressure on Iran to secure her release has escalated in recent months following reports that her health was deteriorating during long stretches of solitary confinement and that she had been transferred to the notorious Qarchak Prison, east of Tehran.
Moore-Gilbert has gone on hunger strikes and pleaded for the Australian government to do more to free her. Those pleas included writing to the prime minister that she had been subjected to “grievous violations” of her rights, including psychological torture and solitary confinement.
Her detention has further strained relations between Iran and the West, which reached a fever pitch earlier this year following the American killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad and retaliatory Iranian strikes on a US military base.